First up, I should say that I am actually loving maternity leave and even more, I think paid maternity leave is a wonderful thing. However, there is one thing that really lets maternity leave down and that is the fact that you imagine that you will have this huge, long period to do things for which you don't usually have time. For me, that includes cooking elaborate dishes that need more than the 30mins cooking time available at the end of the working day. For my mum it was finishing off a Masters degree (if I remember rightly she enrolled for both rounds of maternity leave and subsequently withdrew!) I also remember friends suggesting that I should start writing a book when Leo was born.
For some reason, even though you know that having a baby means extra work, you can't factor in the impact of sleep deprivation, the time needed for feeding and bonus loads of laundry, and the brainspace that gets used up wondering 'what does that cry mean?' and 'where is that smell coming from?'
So I thought i would be worth sharing another shortcut recipe that I have been using lately because I love it even though it is a serious quicky. Warning - this is really a grown up recipe unless you have fabulously adventurous children as the dressing has a reasonable hit of chilli. Maybe give any kiddies a toasted sandwich or some baked beans (that's what I do).
Vietnamese Chicken Coleslaw
Half a roast chicken, shredded
1 bag of ready made coleslaw or Asian salad mix
1 handful chopped mint
1 small cucumber julienned
1 handful chopped peanuts
150mls of dipping sauce for spring rolls* Fried shallots to serve*
Mix chicken, salad mix, mint and cucumber in a large bowl. Pour over dipping sauce as a dressing and mix well. Serve scattered with chopped peanuts and fried shallots.
*from the Asian section in the supermarket